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Press Release

Two sentenced for fatal smuggling event in Mission

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

McALLEN, Texas - Two Mexican men have been ordered to prison for their roles in an alien smuggling conspiracy which resulted in death, announced U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani.

Francisco Javier Quintanilla-Alcocer, 39, and Brandon Cibriano-Gonzalez, 22, pleaded guilty March 3 and Feb. 3, respectively.

U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez has now imposed a sentence of 74 months for Cibriano-Gonzalez. Quintanilla-Alcocer received 87 months for the alien smuggling conspiracy in addition to 24 months for illegally re-entering the United States. Judge Alvarez ordered the sentences in part consecutive for a cumulative 100-month term of imprisonment.   

Both are expected to face removal proceedings following their imprisonment.  

At the hearing, the court considered additional evidence including details of the life-altering and permanent injuries the survivors sustained in the accident. Judge Alvarez also considered Cibriano-Gonzalez’s prior apprehensions as a brush guide and that he attempted to lead another group of migrants into the county less than a month after the accident. In handing down the sentences, Judge Alvarez noted Quintanilla-Alcocer’s disregard for the well-being of the migrants, emphasizing the effects and harm their conduct has had on the victims and their families.  

Orlando Andres Garcia, previously admitted his guilt in relation to the scheme and is set for sentencing before Judge Alvarez Nov. 14. He faces up to life in federal prison and will remain in custody pending the hearing.

“Two migrants died on the side of a dirt road in Mission, Texas, because of a smuggler’s reckless attempt to avoid arrest,” said Hamdani, “Human smugglers - they don’t care about anyone’s life but their own, and after leading authorities on a car chase, crashing and rolling a vehicle full of migrants, Quintanilla-Alcocer fled the scene, leaving those he transported for dead. Remember this: human smugglers - you are not welcome in the Southern District of Texas, and this office will continue its efforts to hold these criminals accountable with convictions and long sentences."

On Oct. 22, 2021, Cibriano-Gonzalez acted as a brush guide to smuggle a group of 10 non-U.S. citizens from Mexico into the United States. He guided them to a pick-up location in Palmview. There, Quintanilla-Alcocer and Garcia arrived and were driving a Chevrolet Impala and Chevrolet Malibu, respectively. The aliens and Cibriano-Gonzalez loaded into the vehicles and left the scene. Shortly thereafter, law enforcement attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but both vehicles failed to yield and a high-speed chase ensued, reaching a speed of 130 miles per hour.

Quintanilla-Alcocer eventually turned onto a dirt road in Mission where the Chevrolet Impala rolled and crashed into a homeowner’s fence. Authorities located a total of seven individuals on scene. Three had been ejected, two of whom died at the scene.

Quintanilla-Alcocer was not located at that time. However, evidence in the vehicle led law enforcement to him. Phone records also indicated that Quintanilla-Alcocer and Garcia had been consistently communicating throughout the high-speed pursuit. During these conversations, Garcia instructed Quintanilla-Alcocer to go faster.  

Three months following the crash, a third migrant succumbed to his injuries.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation with assistance from the Palmview Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lee Fry and Devin Walker prosecuted the case.

Updated August 15, 2023

Human Smuggling